Essay by hkattHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2014

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In Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", King crafts a ringing response to several Alabama clergymen's statement opposing King's actions in Birmingham. Throughout the letter, King uses quite a few comparison literary tools to create a powerful, impassioned tone. Beginning with credibility, to an emotionally raw personal experience, and finally a clear description of King's utter shock through the use of heartbreaking diction that works together to form an image akin to a nightmare, King firmly states this need for a civil revolt in Birmingham. He is here, because unjustness is here.

From the very beginning, King introduces himself as a credible source to the clergymen. King's allusions make the colored race's plight of racial discrimination seem almost holy. King first compares his own "gospel of freedom" to that of Apostle Paul who carried his "gospel of Jesus Christ" to far corners of the world.

King feels the urge to respond to the "Macedonian" call. In comparing Kings errands to the Apostles errands, the audience is introduced to the grandeur of injustice because of the efforts being done to bring the truth under light, just as the Lord's Apostles did. Later, similarities are seen between King being arrested for his peaceful, yet illegal actions, to the crucifixion of Jesus for his "unique God-consciousness and never ceasing devotion." By this point, there is a comparison to his cause to Jesus' cause. He makes the point that this civil rights movement is a God-like event. Continuing with the connections, King mentions the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendnego, who lived a higher moral law and refused to lower their standards, even at the threat of death. King discusses how those three, as well as several early Christians, were vulnerable because of their unwavering faith in the...